College football week 5 is in the books. After every week fans can take away things from what happened on the field. Here are five things learned from college football week 5.
1. The Pac-12 and ACC are Not Good
Last week, it was mentioned that the Pac-12 was out of the CFP contention. Things got even worse this weekend for the Pac-12. Their lone undefeated team, the Cal Golden Bears, lost to Arizona State on Friday night. With only five weeks in the books, it is ridiculously early for every team in a conference to have one loss. It is another year being left out of the CFP for the Pac-12 and things could get even worse if the losses keep piling up.
The ACC had two ranked teams this week. One was Clemson, the other was Virginia. While Clemson won and Virginia lost, things aren’t looking good for the ACC either. That’s something that many figured before the season, but if Clemson slips up once, the ACC will be left out of the CFP. They’ll likely have another ranked team in Wake Forest for the upcoming week, but as a whole, the conference isn’t great.
2. Clemson Can’t Slip Up
With Clemson’s schedule being so bad, the Tigers can’t afford one loss. Texas A&M looks like they will have some struggles in the SEC. The Aggies were the toughest game on the Clemson schedule and while it was good that they won that game, it is terrible for the Tigers that it was the best game on their schedule by far.
This week the Tigers almost did slip up. North Carolina took the game down to the wire and would have likely won the game had they converted on a two-point conversion attempt at the end of the fourth quarter. North Carolina is much improved, but there is no way they should be competing with Clemson. If another team knocks off Clemson this year a repeat National Championship dream could be over.
3. Notre Dame is Still in CFP Contention
The Fighting Irish lost to Georgia last week in a close game. This week, they rebounded well by beating 18th ranked Virginia, 35-20. After losing to Georgia, fans may have thought that their chances of getting into the CFP were limited, but there is still a path to get there.
If Notre Dame finishes out the season undefeated, they will have a few decent wins and their only loss will be to a great Georgia team on the road. If the Pac-12 is out and the ACC could be out with a Clemson loss, the Fighting Irish could still get a spot in the CFP. The Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC would still be in play, but it is unlikely that these teams wouldn’t beat up on each other and still allow Notre Dame to have a chance at the CFP when the season ends. In that scenario, a one-loss SEC team might jump Notre Dame, but they would still be on the cusp of the CFP.
4. Sean Clifford can Play
Penn State is undefeated, but isn’t getting a whole lot of love because they haven’t beaten any teams of note. Their offense has been inconsistent, as they sometimes struggle in the first half before pulling away in the second half. One of the biggest questions for the Nittany Lions this season was the quarterback play following Trace McSorley’s eligibility was up.
Sean Clifford had looked solid in the opening weeks of the season, but took it to another level on Friday night against Maryland. He went 26 of 31 passing for 301 yards and three touchdowns. Penn State has flown under the radar so far, but if Clifford can play like this in their big games, the Nittany Lions could shock some people.
5. Appalachian State Will Win the Sun Belt
Last week, the Mountaineers beat North Carolina in an in-state game. That is the same North Carolina team that just took Clemson down to the wire. It is never safe to use the transitive property in college football, but with how Appalachian State has played to open the season, they are the class of the Sun Belt again.
After losing their long-time head coach Scott Satterfield to Louisville this offseason, the Mountaineers haven’t missed a beat. This week they beat one of the leading contenders in the Sun Belt, Coastal Carolina, 56-37. Now they will get a bye week before playing another contender in the Sun Belt, Louisiana. Appalachian State will likely win that game. If some of the other group of five conference teams fall off, it isn’t inconceivable to think Appalachian State could make a New Year’s Six Bowl Game as the conferences’ representative.
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